As the meeting for representatives from Campbellsville University and representatives from the churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention approaches, I ask for your prayers. My foremost desire is that the witness of Kentucky Baptists before a watching world will in no way be harmed. Please pray to that end. Pray also that God will grant wisdom and guidance to those who will join the discussion.
I asked Campbellsville University President Michael Carter to decide who, in addition to the two of us, should attend the meeting. He has chosen Joe Owens, Mike O’Neal, James Jones, Terry Black, John Chowning, Frank Cheatham, Larry Noe, and David Morris to represent CU. He asked that Hershael York, Dan Summerlin, Bill Henard, Charles Barnes, and Paul Badgett represent the churches of the KBC. With Dr. Carter’s permission, the chairman of the KBC Administrative Committee, Adam Greenway, the chairman of the KBC Mission Board Agencies and Institutions Committee, Daryl Cornett, and KBC Associate Executive Director Curtis Woods will also attend.
As for how this meeting came about, a little more information may prove helpful. Dr. Carter requested the meeting after I suggested it and told him to take some time to think about it.
Why did I suggest it? Seeing the growing concerns appearing on social media and receiving emails and phone calls also expressing concern, I felt that a meeting could potentially serve two purposes. First, it would permit the type of open, honest dialogue that I believe Kentucky Baptists expect from their leaders and ministry partners. Second, it could potentially allow me and other respected leaders from our churches to help CU deal with the challenges presently coming their way and ensure that CU’s relationships with the churches who have long sacrificed to support her remain strong.
Why would I want to help CU? Because I know the impact a Baptist university can have on people’s lives. Together, Michelle and I have 33 members of our family who have attended CU’s sister school, the University of the Cumberlands. Another family member, my sister, is currently applying. No way can I measure the impact that the educational opportunity afforded to our family has had upon our family.
Moreover, if CU is a school where the gospel is proclaimed, faith in the risen Lord is undergirded, and a biblical worldview is welcomed, then that is a cause I want to champion.
Furthermore, since 1984, Kentucky Baptists have invested over $31,000,000 in the university through the Cooperative Program. Cooperative Program giving to CU goes back several more decades but totals from the pre-computer days are difficult to secure. Nevertheless, I’m fairly certain that the Cooperative Program is the largest donor in the history of the university. Of course, Kentucky Baptists have additionally invested untold millions of dollars in the university through personal gifts, estates, scholarships, etc.
Some have suggested the relationship between the KBC and the university should simply be dissolved. That would be the poorest form of stewardship! To the contrary, I hope Kentucky Baptists would exhaust every avenue to address and alleviate their concerns before they would even consider such a move.